High-Performance Composites

NOV 2014

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | 3 9 development director Hermann Filseg- ger. Asked to account for FACC's obvious success, they were quick to point out the company's focus on fnding ways to cut weight, reduce fasteners and part count, simplify installation and reduce costs. A case in point involves spoilers for the Airbus A330/A340, previously assembled from several precured carbon fber-rein- forced polymer (CFRP) parts bonded to an aluminum main ftting. However, the difference in coeffcient of thermal expan- sion (CTE) between the CFRP and alumi- num was an issue. "We saved 15 percent weight vs. the original design by using RTM [resin transfer molding] and CFRP," said Filsegger. "We had no more CTE is- sues nor need to purchase expensive forged metal fttings." Since then, FACC has developed the design further for the A350 XWB (see Fig. 1, below, and Fig. 2, p. 40). Filsegger noted, "The RTM ftting has fown on the A330 for years without any problem." The resin is Cytec (Woodland Park, N.J.) 977-20 toughened epoxy. And it was Cytec, in fact, which suggested FACC in- volvement in the Irkut (Moscow, Russia) MS-21 wingbox program (see "Learn More"). "The customers knew they want- ed to proceed with an OOA composite concept for the wing but were looking for a partner with expertise in the tech- nology," Filsegger recalled, contend- ing that FACC's tooling concept was "smarter" than its competitors', both for the infusion process and fnal as- sembly. (FACC's infusion process — a proprietary and patented system — is described in "FACC: Aerospace infusion pioneer," on p. 40.) Why? "Because we calculated the thermal expansion and laminate warpages so that the result- ing parts are true to dimension," he explained, adding, "Not just expansion and shrinkage, which is expected, but more importantly, we could manage the remaining springback in fnal assembly." This, on a 1-inch/25.4-mm thick spar at the root, would make it impossible to bend the part into its necessary shape. "And even if you did," said Filsegger, "you would introduce an uncontrolled pre- load on the fasteners, which is not per- missible. Our tools could handle spring- back effects easily, allowing the skin to ft perfectly to the ribs and spars. And it was right the frst time." According to Filsegger and Stephan, this was possible because FACC had considered all of the risks during infusion and fnal assembly from the start. "For us, it was a standard technical risk assessment, but it is key to developing innovations so that you can deliver what is promised." When asked if FACC foresees building OOA wings in the future, Stephan ex- plained that OEMs will likely retain (and in Boeing's case reclaim) control of the wing. So what future primary structure is the target? "We have developed our ex- pertise so that OOA vertical or horizontal stabilizers will be readily achievable." Winglets, spoilers, bypass ducts The tour commenced in Plant 1, which houses FACC's corporate headquarters as well as production of aerostructures and some engine and nacelle components. Tour highlights in the 21,000m 2 /226,000- ft 2 facility included winglet, spoiler and engine bypass duct operations. A global leader in the development and production of winglets, FACC Emphasis on engineering innovations FACC builds translating sleeves for the Airbus A350 and Boeing's 787. On the latter, FACC pioneered this double-degree acoustic surface and undulated (chevron) engine nozzle design. Focus on aircraft Interiors AN FACC forté, the aircraft interior was an early beneficiary of several of the company's innovations. FACC recently installed this new, optimized A320 interiors assembly line. Source: FACC Source: FACC Fig. 1 FACC replaced the costly forged aluminum main fitting in A330/ A340 and now A350 spoilers with RTM CFRP, cutting CTE issues and 30 percent weight. Now via its DAEDALUS Project, FACC infuses dry preforms for the shell, ribs and fittings with resin using its MARI process, further reducing manufacturing steps and weight (see "FACC: Aerospace infusion pioneer," p. 40). Source: HPC/Photo: Ginger Gardiner

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